Delta, Jun 2008, $12.00
In San Francisco neighbors Patrick McAvoy and Jessica Zorich argue over enforcement of the rule that they not sleep together. The next day, the city is shut down as four bombs explodeding on buses killed 108 people. Jessica’s answering machine lists 37 calls including her beloved sister Katie in Boston and her beloved hysterical mom in Seattle. A stunned Jessica jumps Patrick, but he insists they adhere to her rule; no exception.
Jessica is upset to learn that Patrick has been seen with Gretchen from his work. When she says to end the rule, he says no as he is not ready now. Patrick hosts a party for an artist friend where Jessica sees Gretchen and knows her. They get on well. She also meets lithographer Josh Hadden. When she mentions knowing renowned Greg Murrant, Josh says he knows him too. He wants to see the prints Greg gave her. Meanwhile she realizes that Gretchen is the notorious PitchBitch whose blog is popular amongst advertising experts.
Josh visits Jessica at her apartment without an invitation. He demands to see the Murrant prints, which she show him. Jessica attends a presentation Josh provides. Afterward he asks her if he can draw her; she agrees. He then brings her to multiple orgasms. Patrick asks her if she slept with Josh; she throws his key at him and tells him to leave, which he does. She and Patrick have not talked in a month. She is seeing Josh instead and enjoys the sex, but as he works the lithograph project starting with scanning part of Jessica’s body, she sees his dark side.
The key fully developed players are quite different in outlook leading to a complex relationship drama in which the centuries’ old art of lithography in a modern electronic media adds fascination to the strong mix. The ending seems appropriate; however, readers never get a motive for the terrorist bombings. Still this is an engaging contemporary tale starring real people shook by out of their control events.